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For Women, a Time to Mourn Often Comes Without a Place to Pray.

I was standing in a pen, like a holding pen for livestock, or so it sometimes felt. I was in an office building in Lower Manhattan in a small area of a large conference room sectioned-off by a black, fabric folding wall reaching three-quarters to the ceiling. The folding wall was a mechitzah separating the space into a men's and women's side for a mincha minyan, or afternoon prayer service, to which I had come to say kaddish for my mother.

The men's side was spacious. It had two or three large tables, several dozen chairs, and a row of windows along one wall. On our side, there were no chairs or tables, and the folding wall curved around, cutting off access to the windows. The 10 or so women praying stood in staggered fashion, trying to give one another room in the cramped space.

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Author:Bloch, Talia
Publication:Tablet Magazine
Date:Nov 9, 2016
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